anterior auricular nerve

Great auricular nerve

The great auricular nerve originates from the cervical plexus, composed of branches of spinal nerves C2 and C3. It provides sensory innervation for the skin over parotid gland and mastoid process, and both surfaces of the outer ear.


Although this nerve is frequently referred to as the "greater" auricular nerve, this is not the proper nomenclature since there is no "lesser" auricular nerve. Great refers to the distinction between it and the posterior auricular nerve, which is the less influential of the two.


It the largest of the ascending branches. It arises from the second and third cervical nerves, winds around the posterior border of the Sternocleidomastoideus, and, after perforating the deep fascia, ascends upon that muscle beneath the Platysma to the parotid gland, where it divides into an anterior and a posterior branch.


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